How Not To Use Stealth
Having recently played in a tournament (the horror!) I thought I would relate some of the major flaws I saw in rogue decks from the vantage of playing a tier 1 deck.
To start I will show my RDW list so you can understand where I am coming from.
My Standard RDW
I won’t be going over the decks I faced in chronological order. Instead I am going to use the various decks I faced to make a variety of points ordered in importance (in my opinion at least, sort of).
1st. Have solid and multiple win conditions
The 3rd match I played had me facing off against a G/W fog deck. I realize RDW was a bad matchup for him but his deck had a problem: his only win condition was Luminarch Ascension. The rest of his deck was fog effects alongside Howling Mine and Font of Mythos. If I was playing Jund I would be sideboarding Thought Hemorrhage and if I was running mono-black I would have Sadistic Sacrament in my sideboard. Having no other win condition makes the deck very weak against this type of card or even junk strategies like mill. I understand not running creatures to make removal dead, but relying on a few copies of a conditional enchantment while ensuring that I hit gas.
Simply running a few additional copies of something as a backup would have greatly improved the deck.
2nd. Don’t assume that other decks are going to let you do you what you want
My first match was against a far too serious guy running a vampire/Eldrazi ramp deck. It did run a large quantity of removal with cards like Smother, Consuming Vapors, Consume the Meek, and All is Dust. Alongside these he ran hyper efficient creatures like Vampire Nighthawk. While my deck is very fast, I really never felt pressured even when I had a slower hand. This deck committed another sin which hurt the deck.
3rd. Have some focus to your deck
This vampire/Eldrazi deck had no synergy. Instead of running pure vampires or Eldrazi ramp in colors that support mana ramp he combined them into a strange hybrid that does not do either particularly well. Even considering the fact that I am a wretched matchup for him the deck seems to lack any focus and I can’t think of any tier 1 or tier 2 deck that this deck can do really well against. For some strange reason I doubt that I was playing in a super advanced meta that this deck was the king of with the top four consisting of 2 Eldrazi decks, Jund (which ultimately won), and my friend Dan’s (aka “Into The Aether”) “blades” deck (sadly tiebreakers put me at 5th place).
4th. Have useful cards
While many rogue decks run cards that are overlooked by the rest of the world. I faced off in the fourth match against a G/R mana-ramp deck that ramped into cards like Mordant Dragon. It was sort of confusing to see him drop multiple bulk rares that could only just smash (assuming they ever hit the table). I played a few more games after the match was over and I only lost once due to the fact that the cards were all pretty useless (the game I lost was when he dropped a pair of Pelakka Wurm). There is a fine line between running cards that are not often run and cards that are wretched.
Admittedly some cards are useful in context of the deck. Take for example a deck that I have been messing with recently: Living End. Based on the namesake card Living End, the deck consists of a number of garbage common cyclers. But the deck is focused on synergy between junk cards instead of the individual quality of the cards.
Please keep these ideas in mind when building a rogue deck. I doubt these are all the important faults in the decks I ran across but they are the particularly egregious ones. Until next week keep playing magic with unexpected decks, and more importantly have fun (especially at a M11 prerelease).